On the first day of school reopening, the traffic system in Dhaka city almost collapsed as roads proved unable to deal with the rush.
Compounding the problem was the closure of a number of routes for metro rail and other development projects, which pushed traffic volume onto other nearby roads on Sunday, causing massive congestion.
The roads in Dhanmondi, Motijheel, Moghbazar, Badda, Baridhara, Ramna, Tejgaon, Khilkhet, Airport, and adjacent areas saw the highest volume of public buses and private vehicles. Traffic jams were also seen in Farmgate, Shahbag, Karwan Bazar, and Bangla Motor areas. Other parts of the capital saw a comparatively moderate increase in traffic.
Transport expert Abdul Hoque said the country is growing economically and car purchasing capacity among people has gone up. While the roads have not increased to contain the load of additional vehicles.
He said, "From the beginning, the capital's road network was not properly planned. Now, the authorities, even if they want, cannot expand the roads due to lack of land."
"Moreover, people cannot get the benefit of the existing roads due to the lack of coordination between different service organisations and the lack of comprehensive approach," continued Hoque, also a director of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Office-goers and students of different institutions suffered long delays in reaching their destinations due to traffic congestion.
According to commuters, the ongoing development activities, increased number of vehicles on city roads, and violation of traffic rules are the reasons behind such severe tailbacks.
Meanwhile, the Traffic Division of Dhaka has assured that the gridlock on city roads will decline after the completion of the ongoing mega projects, including the metro rail, and development activities of various service providing organisations.
Traffic Division officials, however, admitted that controlling the traffic has become difficult due to development work going on at various roads.
According to the Traffic Division of Dhaka, around 4,000 of its members work in three shifts at nearly 600 signal points in the capital every day and night. The digging and cutting up of roads are affecting not only the areas where development projects are being implemented but also the whole city as a residual effect.
Strategic Transport Plan (STP) data says around 15% of the commuters in Dhaka are taking up 70% of the city's roads. These are the users of private vehicles. The remaining 85% of the commuters use various mass transportations and occupy only 30% of the roads.
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) last week said they had two ongoing projects at present – one for supplying water to residential buildings in Dhaka, and the other for supplying water to the capital from outside.
Meanwhile, at Mohakhali, CNG driver Rais Uddin said, "There is an intense jam on the road. I came from Dhanmondi via Agargaon, and it took around two hours."
Rafiul Alam, helper of a public bus said, "At each signal from Gabtoli to Karwan Bazar, we were stuck for 20-30 minutes. The bus had to move slowly due to the heavy traffic congestion."
Azmir Hossain, DMP Sergeant in Mohakhali's Amtali Check-Post, however, claimed that the pressure of vehicles on the road is the same as before.
"We thought that there would be a lot of traffic jams today due to the opening of schools and we were prepared accordingly. But it did not happen."
Although huge traffic was seen at Tejgaon, Sergeant Abdul Jalil at the Satrasta intersection said the pressure is a bit high but it is not that much.